Digvijaya lashes out at Jaitley over Katju

New Delhi, Feb 18 (IANS) Congress leader Digvijaya Singh lashed out at BJP's Arun Jaitley here Monday for attacking Press Council chairman Markandey Katju over his remarks on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

Digvijaya Singh said Jaitley had no problem when Katju spoke against Congress leader Virbhadra Singh, against the home ministry, the detention of Kashmiri journalist Iftikhar Gilani or in the gang-rape case when he publicly rebuked Delhi Police.

"He kept quiet on those occasions," Digvijaya Singh told reporters.

"He has given this statement just because Justice Katju has raised the developmental issues of Gujarat," the Congress leader said and asked: "Is it because he (Jaitley) owes his Rajya Sabha seat to Narendra Modi that he thinks he should defend Mr. Narendra Modi?"

"Mr. Arun Jaitley should not comment like this. It is unbecoming of leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha," he added.

Jaitley Sunday accused the Press Council chairman of partiality to the Congress and demanded his resignation, drawing a strong retort from the former Supreme Court justice who said Jaitley was distorting facts and asked him to quit politics.

Jaitley, who is leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha, accused Katju of attacking non-Congress governments in Bihar, Gujarat and West Bengal on the basis of "his political preferences".

In an article on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) website, Jaitley said Katju's attacks "seem more in the nature of thanks-giving to those who provided him with a post-retirement job".

He said Katju had over the past week released a draft report on behalf of the Press Council of India (PCI) alleging that the media in Bihar was not independent.

He followed it up with an article in an English daily attacking the Gujarat government and Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

Countering Jaitley's argument of targeting non-Congress chief ministers, Katju said he had written to Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan in November last year condemning the arrest of two girls from the state's Palghar town for criticizing on Facebook the shutdown following Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray's death.

Katju said he had also written to Congress leader Virbhadra Singh, now Himachal Pradesh chief minister, over his remarks to a cameraman during campaign in the state assembly polls.

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